Top 10 Advantages of Natural Language Processing(NLP)
Over the last few decades, the world has made an enormous step towards artificial intelligence and machine learning. Since the early 1950s, humanity has been on the run trying to discover new technological tools that will change the future. Because of this curiosity, the 21st-century generation can now almost achieve anything nearly impossible in the past. To help you understand how far the world has come, just look at what technology has enabled humanity to do. Things like robotics, artificial intelligence, data mining, virtual reality, and even the space race aiming to go to planet Mars would not have been possible without this technology. This blog aims to elaborate on the advantages of natural language processing and its applications. So, let’s start with the basics:
What is Natural Language Processing?
NLP is a branch of artificial intelligence that enables machines to read, interpret and derive meaning from the human language. It’s accurate to say that NLP is the art of feeding machines like computers with human language, and letting them derive meanings from the context. NLP is a discipline that works in combination with data science and human language, and this makes it easier to be used in various fields of work. As of 2022, almost everyone in the world has experienced NLP in their lives. A very practical example is the use of search engines such as Google or Bing. These two platforms use NLP to predict and propose what a human person is looking for. Anytime you type a word on Google, for example, it can even complete a sentence for you. Instead of letting you type the entire statement, which can be time-consuming, NLP completes it for you by suggesting various examples you can choose from. How cool is that? Apart from search engines, automatic voice devices such as Alexa and Siri also use the same NLP to process and predict human language.
How Does NLP Work?
Depending on what data scientists prefer, NLP uses two forms of algorithms:
Rule-based algorithms: This is the earliest form of NLP and relies on a set of instructions created by linguistic experts. This NLP algorithm cannot operate unless grammatical instructions are given.
Machine learning algorithms: This is the most recent NLP algorithm and relies on statistical data to process the language. Machine learning algorithms don’t rely on a set of grammatical rules but use previous data to create predictions. Once fed with the training data, the machines learn from this data to predict on their own. This makes machine learning algorithms the best option because it does not depend on human instructions to operate. NLP works by breaking the human language into small compartments to create a grammatical structure of sentences that can be easily understood. NLP tools understand the human language and convert texts into simpler forms machines can easily understand. The following are the top 10 advantages of NLP.
The human recruitment (HR) department is very critical in any institution, be it a school, company, or business. It is the department that scrutinizes the employees, making sure they are fit for various job positions. Ideally, this task is performed by recruiters who examine applicants’ skills and experiences. In today’s world, many people are graduates and this equips them with the skills to apply for many employment positions. A big company such as Microsoft, for instance, can have hundreds or even thousands of applicants for just one position. Assuming that all the applicant’s resumes and CVs will be reviewed, how much time do you think it will take recruiters to do this task? Of course, many hours and days, and this explains why in most job applications, people are told to wait for a few days. This activity consumes a lot of company time and resources, and shouldn’t be the case. Thanks to the NLP because the recruitment process can be automated and does not need to take even a day. NLP, with the help of tools like information extraction and entity recognition, can help recruiters get skills, names, educational qualifications, gender, location, etc., within minutes and with accuracy. These tools then align these applicants into two groups, i.e., fit or not fit, making it easier for companies to select the right applicant for the job. The application tracking system is one example of NLP in HR.
Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools used in business promotion. For anyone who uses emails, he/she certainly knows technology categorizes emails into various groups of primary, important, promotions, and social. Some of these emails may be spam and thanks to NLP because it filters such emails. It puts them into a separate category and adds a red tag to them, making it easier for you to spot them. As technology advances, so many scammers are also coming up. According to Forbes, 320 spam emails are produced daily. In 2020 alone, nearly 47.3% of all emails across the globe were found to be spam. These spam emails carry a lot of danger and opening them can cause companies and individuals to lose millions of dollars. This is because scammers attach links, images, and attachments to these emails before they send them. These attachments carry malware, spyware, and viruses that can either harm the device or extract sensitive information from people unknowingly. A very common problem with emails is phishing, a software that extracts login credentials and credit card details and then uses them to commit criminal activities. Adopting NLP tools can help break down these spam messages and even analyze the malware they carry. This in return offers protection to people by securing their confidential details.
One place where NLP is widely used is the voice services category. As of now, I am certain that you have come across various voice assistants such as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and many others. Voice assistants use special software that is engineered with NLP to process human language and interpret it. This software works with specialized codes that recognize speech by understanding the verbal instructions to give the expected results. This explains why you can ask voice assistants questions and they will give you 100% accurate answers. Instead of typing paragraphs on Google or Bing, which is time-consuming and complex, you can just talk to voice assistants and they will respond instantly. We are at a place where voice assistants can even have a conversation with human beings. To help you understand this, let’s use a perfect example. Let’s say you need to know about beautiful places in Australia for your next vacation. Instead of going to Google and reading the whole paragraph that can be time-consuming and boring, you can use Google Assistant for this. You will just ask, “Hey Google, what are the best places to visit in Australia?” It will name these places for you within the shortest time possible. Also, if you ask for the price, locations, distance, and many other factors related to these vacation destinations, voice assistants will deliver that to you as well. Voice assistants are also very useful in remembering important dates or deadlines, scheduling appointments, and updating relevant information.
Reduces Cost and Saves Time
Unlike human labor that requires constant breaks, NLPs work continuously 24/7 to deliver accurate results. Because of the advancement of technology, companies and businesses are looking for software that will make them reduce the cost of production while maximizing profits. Big companies require several people to perform tasks manually and this adds an extra cost. The worst part is that to keep such companies running, these employees need to work full time to manually fill in all the data. The downside of depending on human labor to perform these tasks is that chances of the making of mistakes are always high, and can cost a company a loss of vast sums of money. NLP Software as a Service (SaaS) tool can perform many company activities with ease. This helps companies to keep the number of employees minimal and therefore saves the money that would have been used to pay them. Another important aspect of NLP tools is that they also analyze customers’ activities, including feedback, responding to questions, recommending products to them, and alerting you when customers are having problems on your website. Because NLP tools work in combination with artificial intelligence, they perform these activities more quickly, hence bringing more money to the company.
Better Customer Satisfaction
In most cases, we judge a business based on the number of customers it receives and how it treats them. This is true because once customers are happy, they come back for more, give good ratings to the business, and recommend their friends too. In today’s world, customers are more specific to the products and services they are looking for. They also go to companies that save their time by aligning products they need together. This can be difficult for companies to achieve because it requires heavy human capital, high costs, and it’s also time-consuming, and this is where NLP comes in. NLP tools help you sort your products and services into various categories that are easier for customers to choose from. So, when a customer logs into your website, he/she goes straight to the exact product or service without spending so much time or energy. Also, once a customer clicks on a product, NLP tools generate a ticket that is then used to analyze what the customer is looking for. Because this process is quicker and automatic, it then directs more products to the customers, helping them have a variety of products to choose from. Integrating NLP tools with software like Zendesk, Freshdesk, Service Cloud and others is a great way to improve customer services and relationships.
Better Market Analysis
Today’s world is highly competitive because of the similarity of products and services available in the market. When the competition is high, only the businesses offering the best products and services survive. NLP is one of the best tools that smart business owners can use to overcome this competition. These tools work by understanding the language of your customers and therefore making it easier for you to know the exact need they are looking for. Instead of waiting for customers to ask you questions, NLP predicts the needs customers require and forwards that information to them. When customers are many customers, it means that companies receive many questions daily. Because responding to all these questions may take time, this can create customer churn, which then discourages many potential customers. Using NLP tools is an effective tool for predicting the market trends, what type of products are in the season, and therefore helping you make proper decisions.
Automatic Language Translation
There are over 7, 100 different languages spoken in the world each day. Because these languages are all different and are found in various parts of the world, it can be difficult for a human being to process. This makes it very difficult for businesses that operate solely in one or two languages. As of 2022, most businesses use English as a mode of communicating with their customers. This only works with those individuals that use English as a primary language and therefore leaves all the non-English speakers out. NLP has made it possible to address your customers in the language of their choice, therefore generating more leads and more profits. NLP is integrated with computational linguistics to improve communication between people. An outstanding example of this is the use of Google Translate, which can help you communicate in over 100 languages. Long are the days when people needed to go to school to study a particular language. All you need is to just get any book or document that you need, paste it on Google Translate, and let it translate for you within a few seconds.
Prediction of Diseases
The health sector is one major entity that has benefited from NLP and technology at large. Unlike many years ago, when medical doctors depended on the manual diagnosis of diseases, today, NLP has eased this process. NLP uses patient data to predict various conditions that patients may suffer from, even the ones that are difficult to diagnose, such as cancers. This is very key because it eliminates human mistakes that health professionals make which subjects hundreds of patients to wrong diagnosis and treatment. A splendid example of this is Amazon Comprehend Medical, a service that uses NLP tools to offer diagnosis, medications, and medical treatment options using patients’ health records.
Employees are an important aspect of any company. This is because companies use their skills and knowledge to perform various activities to satisfy customers. When these tasks become repetitive, they create a monotony that reduces employees’ productivity. Examples of repetitive tasks in companies may include the classification of emails, responding to repetitive questions, customer support, and many others. Using NLP can help companies in performing these time-consuming activities within a short period. Automating these activities using NLP can motivate employees to work harder, hence producing greater results. Preventing them from getting extremely tired keeps them more engaged and exercises their skills fully. When employees are happy and satisfied, they serve customers well and are more likely to work for you for years. In the end, employers get a huge return on investment.
Feelings and Emotions Analysis
Even if technology has helped humanity hugely, some people argue that some of these technological tools such as robotics devices lack feelings. This is because as robotics and machine learning is becoming more popular, people are feeling as the human connection is getting lost along the way. Many people report that talking to robots never feels right because they miss the emotional aspect. Humans are emotional beings and therefore feelings and emotions are a huge part of any conversation, whether it’s through calls, voice notes, or even texts. Thanks to NLP and its newer sentiment analysis because businesses can know how users feel about products and services. NLP tools collect users’ messages, comments, and complaints and then use specialized software to analyze them. From here, it categories them into different categories of feelings such as happy, sad, satisfied, etc. Companies can then use this information to improve their services and respond to clients who are complaining. NLP may not have many feelings such as humans, but it’s in the process to get there.
The Bottom Line
NLP is a major branch of artificial intelligence. Over the last few years, it has proven to be an immense help for humanity in terms of accuracy, speed, saving money, and time. NLP helps to automate and streamline various processes, making work easier. NLP tools have many uses in things like search engines, disease diagnosis, emotions analysis, better customer services, etc. This is just one way of proving that you no longer need a data scientist for your company to be productive. Technology is offering so much and this explains why the 21st century is characterized by the booming of businesses, many applications, and futuristic software. NLP is just one way of exploring the unlimited human mind, and just showing that humanity can achieve anything.
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